Dragon Ball, the famous manga illustrated by Akira Toriyama, is a story that follows the adventures of Son Goku, who trains in martial arts and explores the world in the search of the seven elusive Dragon Balls, which are said to be able to grant three wishes when they are all gathered together. Along his journeys he makes many friends and battles a wide variety of villains who also seek the power of the Dragon Balls.
The original Dragon Ball series was very well received from when it started until its last broadcast, and it still enjoys continued popularity due to subsequent series such as Dragonball Z, GT and Super, which continue to feature Son Goku along with his ever-growing cast of friends and family.
Dragon Ball’s Original Cast and Their Inspirations!
The story of Dragon Ball was inspired by the famous classic Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’. This influence can be seen in aspects of the designs and story, most notably in how the original cast of characters – Son Goku, Bulma, Oolong and Yamcha – are made as adaptations of Sun Wukong, Tan Sanzang, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing, respectively.
The main protagonist throughout the series. His recognizable design is featured on merchandise such as figurines and shirts. The reason why he became that popular is because of his wild and free-spirited personality, which appealed not only to the intended audience of young kids, but also to their parents and other adults.
In the original Dragon Ball series, which mainly chronicles the childhood adventures of Goku, he is an eccentric boy with a monkey tail who practices martial arts and possess super human strength. This strength becomes deadly when he stares at the full moon. Goku absorbs power from the full moon when he sees it, causing him to transform into a giant ape that destroys everything around him until someone takes the initiative to cut off his tail, nullifying the curse.
Goku as a child is cute, but he can be serious and calculating when he has to face his enemies. These character quirks are just some of the reasons why most people came to love this character.
How could anyone forget about Bulma, the charming leading lady of the story, who is quite unlike female characters from earlier anime? Bulma is interesting as she not only is a comical character, but also a genius inventor who creates many of the gadgets used throughout the series.
Vegeta is another strong and popular mainstay of the series whose popularity among fans rivals Goku. Vegeta, who also becomes Bulma’s husband as the series goes on, is in fact the prince of an extraterrestrial race of warriors known as the Saiyans. Goku is also a Saiyan, who was sent to Earth as a baby, and this complex history drives a lot of the clashes between these two unforgettable personalities. Although Vegeta started out as a villain when he was first introduced, his attitude relaxed over time and he grew to became a friendly rival to Goku.
Vegeta may be full of pride and not quite as friendly as Goku, but his character has become a fan favorite despite this, in the ‘bad boy anti-hero’ sense. Some people love him, others love to hate him!
A Series of Enduring Popularity!
I hope that after reading these introductions to some of the most popular characters and some of their defining characteristics, you have become slightly interested in this series, perhaps even interested enough to start collecting some of their figurines or other fun merchandise!
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